In 2015, to commemorate Star Wars Day, a.k.a. “May The 4th Be With You”, a holiday observed around the world by fans of the legendary film franchise, Amiyrah Martin and her husband Brandon made a video titled Black Star Wars Fans Do Exist. Some folks from Parade Magazine happened upon it and fell in love with the couple’s charisma, and ultimately interviewed them for an article. The interview, during which Amiyrah mentioned it was her Dad who got her into Star Wars when she was 8, went so well it landed their family – 3 generations of diehard Star Wars fans – a cover shoot with the magazine for their special Star Wars issue, which was released on December 11, 2015, the weekend before Star Wars: The Force Awakens hit theaters.

Just last week, on May the 4th, Star Wars Day 2016, Amiyrah took to Facebook to share the deeply personal story behind that public story of the photo in which she’s featured alongside her parents Aneesah and Herbert Allen, her children Brandon Martin Jr (age 10), James Martin (age 1), Alannah Martin (age 5), and her husband Brandon Martin Sr. It proves that while “the Force” may be strong, nothing beats the power of love.

I need to share a May The 4th story with you.

When my family went to do this secret photo shoot, we were in turmoil. We just found out that my husband’s grandmother was very sick (she passed 2 days later), and weeks before, we found out that my Dad was diagnosed with cancer. Everything in me wanted to cancel the shoot, but the kids were excited, and my husband and Dad were excited too.

My Dad is the man that introduced me to Star Wars. He actually introduced me to Science Fiction, comic books, and everything that makes me the weirdly awesome woman I am today. I’m a daddy’s girl, and he’s my everything. When we found out about his diagnosis, I allowed myself one crying session, then I was all about pushing him to fight. I asked him for updates, I checked on him, I wanted to know what the plan was. My Dad had to get through this. He had to.

On the day of the shoot, I was afraid that him and my Mom wouldn’t be into it. Technically, they’re both Trekkies. The Parade team wanted to put them in costumes. Again, I didn’t think they would be into it. But, to my surprise, they were all about getting into character. My Dad was the most excited. We hadn’t even seen the movie yet, but he knew he needed to be Finn for the photo. The shoot was pretty long, but my Dad smiled throughout it all. Afterwards, he came up to me and said “thank you for letting me be a part of this, Baby Girl.” I told him since it’s his fault that I’m such a big fan, he really had no choice but to participate. We laughed, hugged, and it took everything in me not to cry. I didn’t want to lose him. And if we did, I knew this photo shoot would mean so much more to us than we could have ever imagined.

Last week, my Dad shared good news with us. After 2 surgeries, and many aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, he is now is remission. I didn’t share about his diagnosis because it wasn’t my story to share. But, now that he has been given this news, and now that we are reminiscing over this photo on May the 4th, I had to share. Star Wars can be a hokey thing that your “nerd friends” go crazy over, but there’s always a bigger story there. For me, it’s the story of my Dad and how our relationship grew stronger through our obsession with Sci-Fi and Fantasy. Star Wars is a big part of our family, and we’ll never stop loving it. Happy May the 4th, friends.

Photo credit: Parade Magazine, republished on Women You Should Know with the express permission of Amiyrah Martin

What Else You Should Know About Amiyrah Martin

Amiyrah_Martin_HeadshotIn addition to being an Airman in the US Air Force, Amiyrah Martin is the owner of 4 Hats and Frugal, a website where she teaches families how to have fun on a dime, be a “baller on a budget,” and live a full life on less.

She’s been featured on Good Morning America, Doctor Oz, CNN, Parade Magazine and FABLife Show.